TNA has always been in the shadow of the WWE. Founded in 2002 by Jeff Jarrett, TNA looked to bring back the Monday Night Wars. However, due to a poor roster and some syndication issues with broadcasters, things just couldn’t fall in place for them. Some of the biggest TNA wrestlers, however, have also represented the WWE at some point in their career.
Before we begin the list, some honourable mentions go out to Booker T, Mick Foley, Jeff Jarrett, Test, Eric Young, Christian Cage, Damien Sandow and Rob Van Dam.
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#15 Bully Ray
Bully Ray’s run in the TNA may be one of the biggest success stories of the promotion.
He came to TNA after his release from the WWE along with D-Von and took the Impact Wrestling scene by storm. Although the duo was known for their tag team matches, Bully Ray turned on D-Von and went on to become the World Heavyweight Champion in TNA, a laurel that he had never achieved in the WWE.
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#14 Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner was unable to carry over his success in the WCW to WWE. Add to that a leg injury and him jobbing to Triple H and it was a sad show for Steiner.
However, Steiner joined TNA two years after his release from the WWE and aligned himself with his real-life friend Jeff Jarrett. Steiner went on to have a surprisingly good feud with Samoa Joe fuelled with intense promos and put Joe over in one of the more memorable TNA feuds.
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#13 Matt Hardy
A year ago, Matt Hardy would be better remembered for his WWE ladder matches with brother Jeff Hardy and an intense rivalry with Edge. After his release from WWE, Matt joined TNA and did some of his best work.
But the icing on the cake was his ‘Broken Matt Hardy’ gimmick that may very well be the best gimmick of the year. He put up some great matches with Jeff or ‘Brother Nero’ so much so that WWE is rumoured to have started negotiations to bring him back.
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#12 Jeff Hardy
Jeff hardy had grown to become a top star in the WWE. In fact, his rivalry in the WWE with CM Punk made Punk a bonafide star. However, Jeff was fighting a battle against substance abuse at the time and left the company after his heated feud with Punk.
Hardy made an appearance on the first live episode of Monday Impact in 2010. He has since been actively involved with the company winning the TNA Heavyweight Championship for a total of three times.
#11 Bobby Roode
Bobby Roode is a two-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion, one-time TNA King of the Mountain Champion, and eight-time World Tag Team Champion. Roode has often made it clear that he does not get into the ring for cheers, stating instead that he’s only there to get the job done.
Roode is in fact, the longest reigning TNA World Heavyweight Champion with a title reign of 256 days. He made his debut in the WWE at NXT TakeOver Brooklyn II earlier this year and there is only one word to describe his tenure with the WWE so far – ‘Glorious’.
#10 Drew Galloway
Drew McIntyre was the Chosen One. Heavily supported by Vince McMahon, McIntyre was pushed but was eventually lost in the shuffle. During the last year of his career with the WWE, he was poorly booked and had formed a stable with Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal called 3MB.
After jumping ship to TNA, Drew has achieved, what many believe to be his true potential. After leading The Rising stable, he broke off on his own, and went on to capture TNA’s World Heavyweight Title.
#9 Austin Aries
The Greatest Man That Ever Lived was one of the hottest free agents following his departure from TNA Impact Wrestling. WWE announced that Austin Aries had signed with the company in January.
Making his debut as a face, Austin quickly turned heel and has since been a regular feature of NXT programming.
#8 EC III
Not many in the WWE would have pegged NXT rookie Derrick Bateman as a top guy. However, TNA noticed his potential and signed him. He was pushed right from the start with a ‘rich, spoilt brat’ gimmick and grew to become one of the most hated villains in the company.
He eventually turned face which was also received a favourable reaction from the fans.
#7 Samoa Joe
Joe is another one of those superstars that made his way to the top through the Indies. Samoa Joe has held the the ROH World Championship, ROH Pure Championship, the TNA World Heavyweight Championship once, the TNA X Division Championship five times, and the TNA World Tag Team Championship twice.
He also beat Finn Balor for the NXT Championship. For a 280 pound man, Joe is surprisingly agile and devastating.
Joe has become an integral part of the NXT roster and is locked in a bitter rivalry with Shinsuke Nakamura. There are rumours of Joe being drafted to either RAW or SmackDown in the near future.
#6 Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley was billed as the next Brock Lesnar in the WWE. However, he always looked uncomfortable in the babyface persona and was deemed average in the ring at best. His most memorable match in the company was the WrestleMania 23 clash with Umaga in the Battle of the Billionaires where he represented Donald Trump.
Lashley joined TNA shortly after parting ways with WWE but became a regular on Impact Wrestling only in 2014. He found a new heel gimmick, improved his wrestling style and has since dominated the TNA landscape.